Your Pie franchisee on the power of an empowered staff

Your Pie franchisee on the power of an empowered staff

By Bob Rosato, Your Pie franchisee

One of a successful franchisee's top responsibilities is building a great team where every member acts in ways that mirror the integrity of the business, as well as a passion for the craft and an attitude of care. I firmly believe that creating a positive work experience translates directly into an exceptional guest experience. Cultivating an all-star team is hard work, but — like a parent raising a child — the investment of time and effort is always worth it.

1. Be picky for passion
Developing a great team starts with hiring the right people. When hiring, intangibles like attitude, communication and interpersonal skills should be given equal consideration as relevant work experience or technical skill. Take hiring very seriously for every applicant, regardless of age or position.

Whether it's full time or part time, a first high school job or first step of a career, building a team of passionate people with a desire to learn and grow will result in fantastic chemistry for your team. Hire your team based on the experience you wish to create for your customers. If your atmosphere is warm and family-friendly, hire people whose character reflects that — and then teach them the technical skills they will need to be successful.

2. Expect the extra mile
When looking for candidates, always request a resume and take notes while listening intently during interviews. If you expect high professionalism from candidates on day one, they will quickly realize this job is more than a way to earn extra cash; it is a place for them to grow and thrive.

The highest compliment you can hear from a team member is that yours was the "best first job ever."Why? Because that means you have successfully created a fun and positive work environment, while simultaneously providing an enriching job experience that helps prepare your team members for their next chapters. 

3. Embrace the Z
Generation Z team members serve as both an exciting challenge and incredible blessing. It's true—this generation is attached to mobile devices and social media; but they are also very astute. Many Gen Z team members are quick learners and want to please people, which generally translates to good customer service.

They also love to be challenged, which makes for an enthusiastic work environment. Embrace your Generation Z team members and use their skills and inherent knowledge to bring an added element of understanding and excitement to your team. 

4. Bring the importance of great service 'home'
What was the worst customer service you ever received? It has happened to everyone at least once in their life. Ask your team to recall a situation when they did not feel valued as a customer, and use those feelings of frustration as a catalyst to identify and replicate positive experiences. Everyone can easily remember both experiences—good and bad.

Challenge your team to choose how they would like to be remembered when customers leave your establishment. Teaching the "why" behind great service and then linking it with a personal experience, will make them exponentially more conscious of the way they interact with customers.

5. Empower and reward
Once you have interviewed, hired and trained a team, it's critical that you as the restaurant leader "walk the walk and talk the talk," as they say. After all, you can't expect staff to simply do as you say, when you're doing something else.  Rather, the best way to inspire action is to set an example of accountability and trust.

Next, challenge your team and team members, both individually and collectively. Work with each team member to set specific, attainable goals for personal growth and empower them to succeed. Also, help the staff achieve goals that require them to work well together toward an end.

When they do well, or really just put in great effort, you must follow through with a reward. That begins with always thanking team members day in and day out, to let them know they are valued and appreciated. People inherently want to feel appreciated, even in the simplest of daily duties.

For occasions when individual members or the group as a whole attains bigger goals, you can also consider rewarding with gift cards, cash and other perks. All of these small but important elements make for a team imbued with a great "spirit" of cooperation and readiness to embrace your vision of excellence.

Simply stated, happy team members make for happy guests. From the moment customers arrive in the parking lot to when they return again and again, customer sentiment is a result of small, combined experiences.

Everyone expects quality service, delivered accurately and in a timely manner. But what separates the great from the average is the way great restaurant leaders and their teams make people feel.

Team members who are satisfied tend to strive for that next level of service, where they are constantly striving to move beyond what is expected to create a "wow" experience. That consistent, "second level" of service to a guest is then what brings them back repeatedly and creates memorable experiences that all revolve around your brand.

Cover photo: iStock

Inset photo: Provided

Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability, Customer Service / Experience, Human Resources, Staffing & Training, Workforce Management

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